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Here’s The Scoop…PROPOSED BUDGETS

COMPARE TO LBTS….www.lauderdalebythesea-fl.gov

click on …the left side…Town Update…proposed 2008-09 town budget

www.sunsentinel.com

Sunrise to raise tax rate, fire fee

SUNRISE’s PROPOSED BUDGET

Homeowners would pay a higher tax rate and fire assessment fee to help make up for a $7.2 million shortfall. In addition, the city would cut 29 positions, merge fire and police dispatch operations, and cut the hours of the Civic Center swimming pools and athletic club.

Total budget proposed 2008-09: $373,851,879

Total budget 2007-08: $381,077,716

Percent change: 1.9 percent decrease

dollar change in property tax revenues: Increase of $555,508

percent change in property tax revenues: Decrease of
5.8 percent

Total tax rate proposed 2008-09: $5.44 tax rate per $1,000 of assessed value

Tax rate 2007-08: $5.12

Impact on homesteaded house valued at $275,000 (whose taxable value has increased 3 percent because of the Save Our Homes tax cap but which now has a $50,000 homestead exemption): The average taxpayer will face a city tax bill of $1,268.88 compared to last year’s bill of $1,280. The savings: $11.12. To get an estimate of your city tax bill, go to www.sunrisefl.gov/TaxCalculator.html.

Impact on nonhomesteaded house valued last year at $275,000 (whose taxable value decreased by 5.8 percent): The average taxpayer will face a $1,409.23 bill, which is a decrease of $1.23 since last year.

What is being cut: 29 positions, including 21 full-time and eight part-time employees. No positions are being cut in police or fire, though some vacant positions have been frozen. To cut costs, the city will merge the fire and police dispatch operations into a consolidated 911 center, reduce landscaping maintenance, cut back on employee travel and training and reduce the hours of the Civic Center swimming pools and athletic club.

What else changes: The annual fire assessment fee may increase from $97.50 to $139.50. The city also may increase fees for ambulance transport, fire inspection, lien inquiries, summer camp for nonresidents and alarm registration.

What’s next: The city is holding its next budget workshop at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 28. The public hearings on the budget will be Sept. 15 and Sept. 22 at City Hall. The time has not yet been determined. The next fiscal year begins Oct. 1.

— Susannah Bryan

Deerfield Beach manager recommends 5 cent tax decrease

City Manager Michael Mahaney is recommending a 5-cent tax decrease this year. He is planning no layoffs and has been able to build a $1 million contingency fund, in part by losing 80 city staff positions through attrition while making no new hires.

“The state tax reforms cost us $2 million,” Mahaney said, “and we had 593 single-family homes in some state of foreclosure in the first half of 2008. There were just 81 homes with that status in the 2007-2008 budget year,” he said.

In response to residents’ complaints about the condition of foreclosed and abandoned properties, the city manager is also setting aside $100,000 for code enforcement to mow lawns and disinfect pools.

If the budget is approved, Mahaney said he expects to be able to honor all contractual commitments with the city’s unions that include the public works and public safety employees, and he said the city’s biggest festivals — Founder’s Day, July Fourth and the Mango Festival — are funded in next year’s budget.

total proposed budget 2008-09: $139 million

Total budget 2007-08: $130 million

Percent change: 6.7 percent increase

Dollar change in property tax revenues: $3 million decrease

Percentage change in property tax revenues: 8.1 percent decrease

Total tax rate proposed 2008-2009: 5.30

Tax rate 2007-08: 5.35

Impact on homesteaded house valued at $275,000 (whose taxable value has increased 3 percent because of the Save Our Homes tax cap but now has a $50,000 homestead exemption): $1,192.50, or $102.15 less than last year.

Impact on nonhomesteaded house valued at $275,000: $1,457.50 or $13.75 less than last year.

What is being cut: 80 positions have been frozen as vacancies have occurred. Vacancies continue to be evaluated for possible work-force reduction.

What else changes: No fee increases are proposed.

What’s next: Public hearings on the budget take place at 7 p.m. Sept. 8 and Sept. 16 at City Hall.

— Linda Trischitta

Pembroke Pines’ proposed budget

PEMBROKE PINES’ PROPOSED BUDGET

Residents will pay higher fees and receive fewer services under the city’s proposed budget. Faced with an 8.5 percent drop in taxable property value, and an increase in operating expenses, the city will make cuts that will include everything from closing pools to eliminating about 50 jobs. Because the value of the city’s taxable property decreased by 8.5 percent, and operating expenses increased, the city needs to make up about a $13 million shortfall to provide the same level of services as last year.

Total general fund proposed budget 2008-09: $162,324,608

Total general fund budget 2007-08: $155,285.136

Percent change: 4.5 percent increase

Dollar change in operating property tax revenue: $216,523

Percent change in operating property tax revenue: 0.5 percent increase

Operating tax rate proposed 2008-09: $4.56 per $1,000 of assessed property value

Operating tax rate 2007-08: $4.17 per $1,000 of assessed property value

Impact on house valued this year at $275,000 (with a $50,000 homestead exemption): Homeowner will pay $1,026 per year in city taxes; that’s $16 less than last year.

Impact on house valued last year at $275,000 without a homestead exemption (and whose value dropped 8.5 percent this year): Owner would pay $1,243 per year.

What’s being cut: City parks would eliminate athletic games one night a week. Pools will close permanently, or restrict operating hours. For instance, Pembroke Lakes pool would operate five days a week, instead of seven, between October and April; Silver Lakes South Pool would close permanently; Town Gate pool would only open in the summer. The city swim team would be privatized. Some special events would be restricted. In addition, residents will pay higher fees in several areas, including fire protection, park and recreation athletics, community services at the Southwest Focal Point Senior Center and building and planning services. The residential fire protection fee, for instance, has been tentatively set at $223 per home and condo, an increase from $153.48 this year.

What else changes: The city is considering a four-day, 40-hour workweek for about 300 to 400 employees to save energy costs and employees’ fuel costs. About 50 positions might be eliminated; of those, about 25 are currently filled. The layoffs would come from departments citywide.

What’s next: The first public hearing on the tax rate and budget will be at 5:45 p.m. Sept. 12 at City Hall. The final public hearing will be at 6 p.m. Sept. 17.
— Kathleen Kernicky

Post Division